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1/48 Hasegawa Zero A6M3

Nishizawa’s Zero A6M3

by Michal Sekula

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Here is my attempt to build a kit of Hiroyoshi Nishizawa’s Mitsubishi Zero A6M3 model 22. For more info about Zeros visit this page: http://www.chuckhawks.com/best_fighter_planes.htm

Nishizawa is on the top of all Japan Naval and Army fighter aces. There is no clear evidence about his exact final score. Officially, he has 34 confirmed individual victories. But after his death Nishizawa’s family was informed about his 147 victories. Saburo Sakai, another Japan top fighter ace, agreed with number 102. And finally, when Nishizawa left 253rd Kokutai in Rabaul, he told to his commander Okamoto about 87 victories.

Nishizawa flew the Zero as a fighter escort during the first official Kamikaze attack on 25 October 1944. USS Saint Lo was sunk, several other ships were damaged. Nishizawa died the next day on 26 October 1944, in the age of 24 years, when he and other pilots flew in the bomber back to Luzon after the attack and the bomber was shot down by Hellcats from USS Wasp.

 

The kit is the second aircraft in my collection of the WWII top fighter aces that I started approximately 3 years ago.  

 

Click on images below to see larger images

The kit

The kit is the Hasegawa Zero in 1:48. PE parts from Eduard were added to the cockpit. Painted cooper wires represent brake lines. Open parts on the engine cowling were cut from a beer can.

 

For me the most important criteria is how the kit looks on the shelf. So I would rather spend my time by the gathering info about the right camouflage and marking then checking the kit dimensions, surface panel lines etc. against blue prints.

Assembling

I will avoid description of the kit assembling, how parts fit etc. as it was a long time ago and I do not remember all details. 

 

Click on images below to see larger images

Painting and Marking

Original camouflage was light grey. Dark green on upper surfaces was officially used since mid 1943. New planes were painted already in factories, operating planes were repainted on their actual bases. I do not have any info about the technical background in Rabaul, mid 1943, but seeing the picture of the Nishizawa’s plane flying in the formation with other Zeros, I quess, that the dark green color was probably hand painted, not airbrushed. So I tried to apply the same technique.

The basic light grey, FS-36493, on the external surfaces was airbrushed. Japanese national insignia decals were applied and then one coat of the semigloss finish was airbrushed. After it was dry the first layer of the matt dark green was hand brushed and code letters UI 105 decal, created from my spares box were applied. Only below the code letters decal was a gloss finish applied to avoid silvering.  Then one coat of matt finish was airbrushed. And finally another layer of the matt dark green with a little bit of black added was hand brushed. The idea was, that on the original aircraft this second layer should restore abraded first dark green layer painted onto dirty light grey. So I repeated it on my kit. The code letters UI were very slightly overpained.

The engine cowling was painted black with a little bit of blue added and coat of semigloss finish was airbrushed.

All interior surfaces such as cockpit, landing gear wells etc. were painted aluminium a then a coat of thinned semigloss finish mixed with a bit of blue and green was painted.  

 

 

I used Humbrol and Revell enamels.

Weathering

All weathering is brushed using a very thinned mixture of matt Sand, Dark Earth and Black enamel with the required ratio. Some areas had more brown, elsewhere more black.  I like this approach because it makes the kit surface not so homogeneous.

 

 

Taking Photos

All pictures were taken on the balcony during a sunny day. The kit was placed on the A1 white paper sheet. The first shots were taken in the direct sun light, but the kits were too dark because of the white background and my limited abilities to use all features of the borrowed digital camera. Then I tried to placed them into the shadow and take some pictures in the indirect light. After short experimenting I was pleased by results. Plane looked quite well for me and, moreover, there were no sharp shadows of the plane on the background.

References

·         REVI Magazine, issue 8, 1995

·         http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/IJARG/nishizawa.html

 

I hope you will enjoy them.

 

            Misos

 

Michal

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Photos and text © by Michal Sekula

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